We see and hear a lot of confusion about the NBN, and in particular when it comes to people asking us about purchasing an NBN Ready Phone System. The truth is that, while the NBN is changing the way we communicate and opening up new opportunities for small businesses across Australia, it’s also not the simplest of technologies to understand. This is because it’s entirely new and different to what we’ve been used to for so long, and also because finding out the details of how the NBN works isn’t something NBN Co. makes easy.
If you’re looking to purchase a new NBN Ready Phone System, we’re here to help. We’ll give you the run-down on how the NBN works with a phone system, the different kinds of phone system available, and what to look out for when you buy.
How does the NBN work?
There are several different types of NBN connections, but rather than go into them here, we’ll just tell you that no matter what type you have installed in your office, you will now use a VoIP or SIP service to run your phone system. In the past, you would have had a phone service and a data/internet service in your office. Now, your NBN data service is actually used to carry your phone service as well as your internet.
Digital vs. Analogue
The most important thing to know is that the NBN uses digital data to send and receive multimedia messages, while your traditional phone would have used analogue data (in most cases). Analogue devices are not compatible with the NBN, which means that when buying an NBN Ready Phone System, this is your #1 priority. If you already have an analogue phone system, there’s no need to buy a new one just yet. You can use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) to convert data from analogue to digital, and vice versa.
What is an NBN Ready Phone System?
When you hear people talking about an NBN Ready Phone System, they’re most likely talking about a Hosted Phone System, however, you still have a choice between these and Traditional PABX Phone Systems.
Hosted Phone Systems
A Hosted Solution means all of your Phone System data, programming, and features are stored ‘in the cloud’, and there is no large PABX box located in your office. These are the ultimate NBN Ready Phone Systems because they rely on quality internet to function at their best, and the NBN provides just that.
In the past, Hosted Phone Systems were reserved for large companies that could afford to run a dedicated, high speed internet connection to their office. The NBN rollout means that high speed data services are now affordable for small businesses, and they too can now access the speed required to run a Hosted Phone solution.
PABX (Traditional Phone System)
Traditional Phone Systems consist of a physical box that lives in your office, and has been the way phone systems have worked for a long time before Hosted Solutions arrived on the scene. PABX systems have traditionally used PSTN, ISDN and (more recently) SIP trunks to make and receive calls.
As we mentioned earlier, PABX systems are still a viable option if you’re looking for an NBN Ready Phone System; just because they aren’t Hosted in the cloud, doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of the high speed data and VoIP services offered by the NBN. The most important thing is that your PABX is IP compatible, which means it can send and receive digital data.
If it isn’t IP enabled, in most cases it can be made to work with the NBN, but it will depend on the type and age of your phone system, so you’d have to talk to a supplier to find out about your own circumstances.
What’s the best NBN Ready Phone System?
Most people who are purchasing an NBN Ready Phone System are going for a Hosted Solution, and there are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, unlike Traditional phone systems, many businesses find Hosted systems just plain easier to install, manage, upgrade, and maintain. Another influence is the fact that Hosted Solutions are the perfect NBN Ready Phone System, but you don’t actually have to have the NBN to start using them; all you need is a reliable internet connection (your provider should confirm this for you before you buy).
At the end of the day it’s a matter of preference and opinion, but if we listen to popular opinion, then a Hosted Phone System is the preferred way to go.
What Will a Hosted NBN Phone System Mean For Me?
If you shop around, you’ll notice that different providers have different gimmicks and offers, but sometimes there are hidden costs involved once you get to the fine print. If you find the right provider, there won’t be. For example, our Hosted NBN Ready Phone System has a whole load of the most popular features included, plus we offer FREE Programming changes to your settings and features for the life of your system. Avoid any providers who make you pay every time you want your call routing changed or your voicemail diverted – it will get expensive.
No Expensive Phone System Hardware Required to Maintain & Manage
The bulky PABX box in your office is a thing of the past, which means that regular maintenance, cleaning, and needing a tech expert to update your features is also a thing of the past.
With a Hosted Phone System, everything can be managed by your host with a simple phone call and, in many cases, you can even update your features and change programming from your own computer with a web interface. The key points here are that damage, theft, and cleaning is no longer on your list of things to do, and making changes is no longer something that takes a lot of effort.
Low capital investment and ongoing savings
The cost of purchasing and installing a Hosted solution is relatively similar to a Traditional PABX, however, the ongoing costs are significantly lower – especially if you choose your provider wisely.
Once you start using the NBN to make calls, SIP phone line rental and call rates are dramatically lower than traditional lines. We mean, up to 60% lower. In addition, if you choose a provider that doesn’t charge you for features you don’t use, or to update your programming, you’ll save even more compared to needing a technician to change the settings in your PABX.
Because everything lives in the cloud, all upgrades and updates take place there too. That means there’s no way that a Hosted Phone System can become obsolete. Our Hosted System actually comes with FREE software upgrades for life, so not only do you save on obsolescence, you also save money, too.
Connecting is Simple
The only part of your phone system that will physically live in your office is your handsets, so connecting is really as simple as plugging them in (once your provider has programmed them with your tailored features and settings).
Switching to the NBN will be Easy
If you don’t yet have the NBN, you still need to prepare for it because it will be a reality for your business sooner or later. The great thing about NBN Ready Phone Systems is that you can start using them even before you get the NBN, as long as you have a good existing internet connection.
We’ve got customers who don’t have the NBN yet and use ADSL services to run their Phone System on SIP, and they have never had a problem. However, if someone requests it and we know their internet connection is not reliable enough, we will be honest and tell them that SIP simply won’t work for them. Make sure your chosen provider does these tests and gives you honest feedback before you use SIP with an ADSL service.
Expand Effortlessly Anywhere
Adding a remote worker, new office, or work from home employee to your phone system is about as easy at it can get. All you have to do is ask your host to program a compatible handset, and all they have to do is connect it to their data service. It means that as your business grows, you won’t have to spend a fortune for your phone system to grow with it.
Give the Appearance of Size
Because Hosted Phone Systems are so affordable, you can include a number of features that have previously been reserved for larger businesses. For example, you may only have a small staff of five, but can have a welcome selection menu that gives your caller a choice between several different departments.
You Can Keep Your Existing Phone Numbers
For most businesses their phone number is an important part of their brand and familiarity with clients. The great news os that keeping your existing phone number is easy with Hosted services.
1300 & 1800 Numbers
These numbers are a great way to give your business a national presence, give the appearance of size, and build familiarity. With a Hosted Phone System, they’re also affordable and easy to set up.
Who Should Be Looking At NBN Phone Systems?
One person businesses
It may sound a bit much at first but, because of the flexibility of both price and size of Hosted Solutions, having one for a one-person show isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds. In actual fact, it could very well boost your business by giving your caller the illusion of size, and when you do add staff, it won’t cost you a fortune to expand your system.
Small to Medium Sized Businesses
Small businesses of all sorts can benefit from a Hosted Phone System, including Cafes, Design Agencies, and Retail stores. If a phone is left unanswered, a caller is more likely to call again if they feel they’ve received a personalised experience when no-one answered. That might include providing them with an automated message giving opening hours, or customising your messages based on the time of day. All of this and more is not only possible, but also affordable and easy, with a Hosted Solution.
Businesses in rapidly-changing industries
If you’re in an industry that’s fast-paced and ever-changing, having a phone system that can be easily updated and upgraded to suit your needs is crucial to staying connected to your clients and prospects. Because a Hosted Phone System is so simple and affordable to upgrade, update, and manage, it’s the perfect solution for rapidly changing industries.
Businesses with multi-site locations
Location is playing a less and less crucial role in business as each day goes by, but no matter where you are, you need to stay connected to your colleagues and your clients. As mentioned earlier, adding staff in multiple locations is easy and affordable, and you don’t have to buy a whole new phone system every time you open a new office.
Businesses with temporary sites
Because handsets that are programmed into your Hosted System can be used with an quality internet connection, anywhere in Australia, temporary sites means that temporary communication is no longer a hefty investment.
How Much Does an NBN Ready Phone System Cost?
Compared to Traditional PABX Phone Systems, Hosted Solutions have a similar initial cost, however, installation of PABX systems can get more expensive because of the need for technicians to spend more time installing them in your office. With a Hosted NBN Ready Solution, you can install the system yourself, as long as the required outlets are all in place.
When it comes to cost, whether you go with a Traditional PABX or Hosted Phone System, you will save a fortune on ongoing costs if you utilise VoIP and SIP technology. If you don’t have the NBN yet, you can still use VoIP and SIP, but a quality internet connection is an absolute must.
SIP line rental and call rates really are low, and we’ve had clients who have saved up to 60% on their monthly phone bill. Make sure you shop around, because some providers keep costs high with the hope that people’s ignorance will get them by.
There are two options, pay as you go and unlimited plans.
The Top 7 Features Of An NBN Ready Phone System
Having provided over 12,000 customers with our Hosted NBN Ready Phone System, here are the Top 7 features that we know most businesses are looking for:
Call Flow Hunt Groups
Route calls to specific departments, office locations, or individual people.
Voicemail To Email
If you don’t want to get your voicemail on your handset, you can have you voicemail messages sent to you your email account as a .wav file attachment.
Call Transfer To Anyone
Transfer your phone call’s internally among your team who are on the network or out to external phone & mobile numbers numbers.
Customise your automated messages based on the time of day or week so your callers get the right message at the right time.
Full Auto Attendant
Welcome your callers will an automated message and offer a selection for them to choose based on their enquiry type.
For the purposes of improving your customer service, legal, or training purposes, you can record calls made to and from your phone system network.
Softphone (iOS or Android App)
Use an app on your computer or smartphone to receive calls on your Hosted Phone System, no matter where you are located. This allows your to just connect your headsets/headphones to your laptop and working remotely for the day and want to be connected as if you are in the office. Or this can also be a very popular solution for companies with remote workers who don’t need a handset on their desk, but want their staff to be able to take advantage of all the above features and more.
You should now have a better knowledge about what an NBN Ready Phone System is, and why it’s important to understand your options when purchasing a new one.
Still, it’s impossible to cover everything, and we know that you may have a few questions lingering in the back of your mind. If you want to talk to one of our NBN Ready Phone System experts, they’re always ready to offer advice and support when you need it. Give our team a call on 1300 049 749.